Band of the Day: Skies Turn Black

Here to tell us all about their plans for world domination, Skies Turn Black are here to tell us what makes them tick.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We’re all from the North of England, mostly based in Huddersfield where we met at uni, studying music. Originally we’re from all over; Liverpool, Lancashire, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.

How did you meet?

Jamie and George met when they were playing in bands as teenagers, and went on to meet Danny, while studying at uni, at which point we started taking the band more seriously. After No Place Like Home, Jamie met the two new boys, Xander and Rob, working on a side project, and he eventually convinced the rest of Skies that they were worth hiring!

How long have you been playing as a band?

This lineup’s been going for about a year now, but the band’s first iteration was in 2011 when George and Jamie met. We started taking it more seriously in 2015 when we found Danny, and released our first EP.

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Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

It comes from a track by UK band Malefice, who we were super in to, back in the day. They have a song called “As The Skies Turn Black”. It really was as simple as “that sounds cool, let’s go with that!”

What are your influences?

Our main influences are modern heavy metal bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium, combined with a love for classic NWOBHM, and more melodic power metal bands.

Describe your music. What makes you unique

What makes us unique is how much we bring in elements of classical music; both in terms of having orchestral moments in the tracks, and the way we use harmonic progressions is heavily influenced by classical/romantic composers. Now that we’ve hired a pianist, we can really bring that into our live show.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

We’ve got a lot of songs about the death of freedom in the modern age, our new single “The Silence” is another one of these. Other than that I tend to write about whatever I think suits the track best, whether that’s personal things I’ve been through or, y’know, girls and stuff.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

Our live show’s very theatrical from the get-go, with our orchestral intro track “Before The Storm”, and with more interludes that we’ve composed over the years so that during the show, the music rarely stops. We do, of course, make time for plenty of crowd banter, virtuosic guitar solos, and the occasional slamming breakdown.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

Jamie – I remember one moment when we were doing the launch show for our debut album No Place Like Home. During one of my guitar solos, Danny swung round and hit me in the back of the head with his bass by accident (allegedly). Filled with adrenaline and instant rage, I stopped playing, and punched him. The crowd thought it was hilarious, and we look back on it and laugh these days.

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

George and Jamie have both used Schecters for years, and couldn’t be happier with both our 6 string and 7 string models. Running them through a Kemper and an Axe-FX respectively means we can get the crisp tones from the studio into a live setting. Xander’s a Roland fanboy, sporting their pianos and an AX-Edge keytar. Danny fell in love with his XXX 6-string bass, and Rob plays Mapex Drums.

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What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?

We have a new single, “The Silence”, out now.

What are your plans for the next 6 months or so?

Release more music! We’ve got so much new material that we can’t wait to release. Hopefully we’ll have another 2 or 3 singles out within the next 6 months, and our sophomore album not too long after that.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

It’s a childhood dream for many of us to go out on tour with DragonForce. One of our first nights out as a band was to go watch them together. For an opener, I think DeadWax would be a great choice. They’re a killer fusion of rock and hip-hop from our hometown, and their live show is stellar.

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